Yesler Terrace’s Talented Eight

Who says urban design and transportation can’t be interesting…for teens? Certainly not the eight high school students who were participants in Seattle Housing Authority’s Yesler 2014 Summer Youth Program. Yesler 2014 aims to involve teens and young adults in the redevelopment of the Yesler Terrace neighborhood. With their help, the neighborhood’s open space, cultural spaces, pedestrian paths, and other features will be designed with a youth perspective in mind.

SDOT staff and Yesler 2014 students on discussing pedestrian access in their neighborhood

SDOT staff and Yesler 2014 students discussing pedestrian access in their neighborhood

For eight weeks youth will be exposed to opportunities to build life and leadership skills through trainings and activities like a youth-led neighborhood planning workshop for youth. Two of these weeks were spent getting first-hand experience in the world of urban planning and design at SDOT and the Department of Planning and Development (DPD). During this time, the students worked on a mapping project in GIS (geographical information system), looked at transit oriented development (TOD) during tours of the Seattle Streetcar and Link Light Rail station areas, learned about Seattle’s Race & Social Justice Initiative and the importance of outreach to underrepresented communities.

They also visited SDOT’s Traffic Management Center (TMC), had lunch with SDOT Director Grace Crunican, completed an assessment to see how easy it is to walk in their neighborhood, and visited an SDOT construction site.

Yesler 2014 students at lunch with SDOT and Director Grace Crunican

Yesler 2014 students at lunch with SDOT and Director Grace Crunican

While summer vacation is usually all about spending time at the park or leisurely hanging out with friends, the Yesler 2014 students prove that it can also be about discovery, engaging in new ideas, and service to the community. Much thanks to the 2009 class of Yesler 2014!